BRAMA Theatre Events Workshops Translations Series Newsletter Calendar Store Yara Home

Koliada and Music from the Carpathians

Winter Songs and "troista" instrumental music

Saturday, December 11 at 7:00 PM
Ukrainian Museum 222 E 6th St New York (212) 228-0110
$15/ $10 seniors, students & children

The Koliada is a winter ritual that now coincides with Christmas, but is much older in origin and symbolism. The oldest winter songs are preserved in villages high in the Carpathian Mountains, where the Koliada is considered to be the most important event of the year. Some people believe that spring and the harvest will not come to the village unless the songs are sung in every household. The songs are incantations that assume the magical power of words: “what is said, will be so.”
Hutsul Koliada Ritual

On Saturday, December 11 at 7:00 PM Yara will present Koliada and Music from the Carpathians at the Ukrainian Museum in New York. The Koliadnyky will sing traditional winter songs from the villages of Kryvorivnia and Verkhovyna. The event will also feature the brilliant troista instrumental music from the Charpathians. Violinist Valerie Zhmud and bandurist Julian Kytasty will join the Koliadnyky for several Christmas carols and instrumental number.

Ivan Zelenchuk, is the “bereza,” lead singer of the Koliadnyky. He comes from an old Kryvorivnia family and is the son of Ivan Zelenchuk whose handwritten notebook of winter songs has helped to preserve this tradition despite the persecution under the Soviet rule. Now in his fifties, Ivan considers his involvement in the koliada his personal mission. Mykola Zelenchuk, the son of Ivan, proudly carries on the tradition of his forefathers, both as a winter song singer and the best trembita (mountain long horn) player in the village. He also makes the traditional costumes for the winter song singers. He has taken part in Yara productions and was featured in Still the River Flows New York at La MaMa Mykola Ilyuk is a master fiddler and plays on most traditional instruments of the Carpathians, including the wolynka (bagpipes) and the trembita (mountain long horn). The director of the renowned Hutsul instrumental ensemble, he has his own museum of musical instruments from the area. Vasyl Tymchuk plays the tsymbaly (hammer dulcimer) and other Hutsul instruments. Ostap Kostyuk plays flutes and represents the newest generation that has become expert in this ancient tradition.

The Koliadnyky will be joined by violinist Valeriy Zhmud and bandurist Julian Kytasty. Virlana Tkacz directs the show. A final koliada will be sung to the "Lady of the House" the director of the Ukrainian Museum -- Maria Shust.

Instruments played by the koliadnyky include Trembita – (Carpathian mountain horn) made of hollowed pine tree that has been struck by lightning and wrapped in birch bark. Trembitas are used primarily in the mountain pastures. In the villages they are only used during the koliada and at funerals. Fiddle -- played in the Carpathian style. The Musicians also play duda -- (bag pipe) made from a goat and tsymbaly -- (hammer dulcimer) and a variety of hand-made Carpathian flutes.

Yara Arts Group began its collaboration with traditional artists from the Carpathians in 2003, and has developed into performances in Kyiv, and New York, as well as theatre pieces Koliada: Twelve Dishes and Still the River Flows at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. Photographs and video of the koliada ritual in the village of Kryvorivnia have been exhibited at the RA Gallery in Kiev, La Galleria and Ukrainian Institute in New York, Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs and a major art installation at the Ukrainian Museum in New York. This year Yara celebrated its 20th anniversary and presented Scythian Stones at international festivals in Kyiv and Kyrgyzstan.

These events were made possible by Self-Reliance (NY) FCU, public funds from New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, La MaMa Experimental Theatre and Yara Arts Group’s numerous friends and donors.

Translation of a Koliada or winter song

Related Events in December 2010

Twelve Dishes/Sviat vechir
at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York December 17 & 19, 2010
Friday Dec 17 8PM, Festival of Traditional Song and New Interpretations of Ritual Food
Koliada winter songs, readings by poets and food artist Olesia Lew
Sunday afternoon December 19 Seminar & Workshop in Hutsul music and winter songs

Winter Sun a theatrical celebration featuring
Carpathian musicians and winter song singers from around the world
at La MaMa Experimental Theatre, New York Sunday Dec 26, 2010

About the Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia

"In Search of the Hutsul Koliada of Kryvorivnia" by Virlana Tkacz


Still the River Flows a theatrical celebration featuring
Carpathian musicians and winter song singers from around the world
at La MaMa Experimental Theatre, New York Dec 26-28, 2008 see pictures and reviews
Winter Sun: New Art and Tradition at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York December 19-21, 2008
Exhibit of works by contemporary artists, concert, readings by poets and new interpretations of ritual food, workshop in Hutsul music
Koliada and Hutsul Music at the Ukrainian Museum in New York, Dec 7, 2008
Koliada: Photographs by Alexander Khantaev at Spring Street Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY Dec 17, 2006 to Jan 5, 2007
Workshop in Winter Song Singing with Koliadnyky, Alexis Kochan and Julian Kytasty in New York Dec 16, 2006
Koliada on Fifth Avenue Art and Music Festival and pictures and reveiws Friday Dec 19 8PM Exhibit opening: works of contemporary artists
at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York December 15, 2006
Still the River Flows installation and concert Ukrainian League of Philadelphia, December 8-10, 2006
Koliadnyky in Concert at the Ukrainian Museum in New York, Dec 3, 2006
Still the River Flows installation at the Ukrainian Museum, reviews and photographs December 11, 2005 - February 6, 2006
Koliadnyky of Kryvorivnia in Concert at La MaMa Galleria March 16, 2005
Koliada: Winter Rituals photo exhibit and video installation at La MaMa Galleria January 15-23, 2005
Koliada: Twelve Dishes information on theatre piece, reviews and photographs at La MaMa ETC March 4-20, 2005
Koliada theatre workshop at Les Kurbas National Theatre Center, Kyiv, Ukraine December 4-5, 2004

All Photos on this page from 2008 Koliada event at the Ukrainian Museum. Photographs by Virlana Tkacz and Imogen Brown. Copyright (c)2008 Yara Arts Group; all rights reserved.

If you would like to be included on our mailing list
send us your name and full postal address

or write to:

Yara Arts Group
306 East 11th St., #3B
New York, NY 10003 USA

Phone/Fax: 212-475-6474
Email Virlana Tkacz at:

Tell us what you think of our homepage!

Top of page | Arts & Culture | Yara Homepage
All photos on this page by Margaret Morton. Copyright (c)1995-2008 Yara Arts Group; all rights reserved.

BRAMA Home -- UkraiNEWStand -- Community Press -- Calendar
Advertise on BRAMA -- Search BRAMA
Copyright © 1997-2011 BRAMA,, Inc. All Rights Reserved.